By Tim Hunt
Let process with Costco play outUploaded: Apr 21, 2016
The majority of the Pleasanton City Council took the right step last week after a long workshop session on the Johnson Drive Economic Development District.
They directed the staff to move ahead with the public hearings necessary to allow the Planning Commission and City Council to consider approval of plans to create the district that likely would include a major Costco store with a 24-pump gas station. Marriott also has expressed interest to build two hotels on the southern portion of the site across from the FedEx facility on Johnson Drive.
The decision to move ahead will keep both the city process moving as well as an initiative gathering process that would forbid any retail store larger than 50,000-square-feet to locate there in the district. Proponents, led by Black Tie Transportation owner Bill Wheeler, hope to qualify it for the November ballot. The workshop drew a full house to the Senior Center and ran for three hours.
Bill said the signature gathering is gaining momentum and he expected to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. He reported that as people learn about his effort, more are volunteering to solicit for signatures.
The process to date has allowed for plenty of put input, but the notion that was floated by council members of a public vote should the City Council eventually approve the district and Costco is just wrong-headed. The public has processes in place to challenge a council’s action—as has been done on the Lund Ranch II approval and as Wheeler and his team are doing now—so voluntarily putting it on the ballot is just silly.
Councilmembers are elected to make decisions on behalf of the public. If enough members of the public believe the council was wrong, there are referendum processes in place to overturn it. Members need to remember we are a representative democracy, not a direct one. Councilmembers should do their jobs and let the chips fall where they may.